Holidays: they're fun, they're festive, and sometimes they're just so much bother. The shopping, the cooking, the decorating, the entertaining, the cleaning up. Have you ever wished someone would designate a holiday just for loafing and doing whatever you please?
Some folks in the northern Michigan village of Glen Arbor had that wish—and made it happen. Two years ago, Cherry Republic, a purveyor of sweet and savory cherry delicacies, created the mid-October holiday of Leaf Day. The idea, as the company announced in its 2014 mail order catalog, was "to celebrate the amazing colors of fall, and to take a day to reflect or enjoy the outdoors in the last of our good weather."
On the designated day, Cherry Republic gave employees the day off and encouraged other employers to follow suit, offering a gift box of the company's goodies to the first 25 bosses who granted the holiday to their staffers. Really, would you expect any less of a business whose motto is "Life – Liberty – Beaches – Pie"?
The idea was so popular within Cherry Republic, the company continued the tradition last year. Last October's Leaf Day was even more meaningful, as only a couple of months before, a sudden shear storm had destroyed tens of thousands of the area's magnificent trees.
Not one mentioned rushing through a mall, slaving over a stove or eating to excess.
This year's Leaf Day is scheduled for October 17, but Ray and I got a sneak preview last week during a camping trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, right in Cherry Republic's backyard. It was a little early for the glorious display of color we've seen there in other years, and in fact this fall has been so wet, we thought it might be more appropriate to celebrate Mushroom Day.
But by the end of our five days of hiking, biking, loafing and yes, eating pie at Cherry Republic, tinges of scarlet, russet and gold had begun to color leaf tips, and we felt we'd adequately kicked off the season.
Kicked off, but not capped off. With Leaf Day still ahead, we're looking forward to celebrating nature in our own back yard. And from the looks of the maples around our house, it'll be a grand celebration.
Will you celebrate Leaf Day this year? Or will you come up with your own holiday? What will you celebrate, and how will you choose to celebrate it?
Written from the heart,
from the heart of the woods
Read the introduction to HeartWood here.
Nan Sanders Pokerwinski, a former journalist, writes memoir and personal essays, makes collages and likes to play outside. She lives in West Michigan with her husband, Ray.